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Thursday, 29 May 2014

Three Rivers Village Update - May 2014

In every survey ever done, a consistent 90 percent or so of respondents say they want to live in their own homes until they die.

This is fortunate because as I have mentioned in the past, there are not enough care home options for anywhere near the number of old people who will need or want them in coming years.

The problem for the 90 percent, however, is that as much as every one of us hopes to remain healthy and strong enough to stay in our homes on our own until the end, like it or not some of us are going to need help doing some things. Even a lot of things in some cases.

Even if we change our minds about moving to some kind of care home, as the population of elders expands over the next couple of decades, there will not be enough space in continuing care communities, assisted living, nursing homes, etc. to accommodate everyone.

In addition, in the United States no government organization – not local, state or federal – has a plan to deal with this dilemma so we – elders ourselves and some selfless younger people who are interested in aging – are on our own.

It is we elders who must help one another grow old together.

There will come to be many kinds of solutions. As they have for decades, the venerable visiting nurse services will continue their good work. Private homes in intentional communities such as co-housing will work for some. Group housing is a growing phenomenon that I expect to see develop in many new forms.

Also among the burgeoning solutions is the Village movement, the one I have chosen to work with.

Back in February, I posted a two-part story titled, What is a Village? Click Part 1 and Part 2 to read them.

If you are unfamiliar with the concept, those two posts will give you a good, general overview of Villages. Today, I want to let you know how my Village is progressing.

The planning group began meeting monthly in the fall of 2013. There are about 15 of us who are regular attendees all of whom are smart, enthusiastic, eager and willing to put in time and effort.

So far, we have completed these initial tasks:

Our Vision, Mission, Values Statement
Our Village boundaries: the official city limits of three contiguous towns: Oregon City, West Linn and Lake Oswego
Our shiny new Village name: Three Rivers Village
Joined Villages NW, a "hub" that provides our “spoke” Village with administrative and financial services along with a wide variety of other support services.

Essentially, what we have accomplished to date at Three Rivers Village is the easy stuff. Now we must tackle the hard parts: raising money, marketing the Village to our community, raising money, choosing what services to offer, raising money, finding appropriate service partners, volunteers and much more.

To do all that, we need to expand our membership. Our current core planning group is gratifyingly dedicated but there are not enough of us yet. Several are taking a training course so that we can present what are called the Villages 101 talks to explain the concept to interest groups in our boundary area.

We have a membership committee and a finance/fundraising committee and just added a technology committee that will work on building the database we will need to hold all our information.

Fortunately, there are successful Villages all over the United States to lend advice and many of them are members of the Villages to Villages Network. That's a good place for you to start if you are interested in finding a Village to join in your area or starting one yourself.

The Villages NW “hub” I mentioned above is now helping develop eight spoke Villages in the Portland, Oregon area. Their website is a goldmine of information related to Villages in our area but also in general. You'll find it here.

And if anyone reading today's post lives in the northwest area of Oregon and is interested, you can contact Villages NW at that website or you can email me via the “contact” link in the upper left corner of every TGB page. I will be happy to help.

I'll let you know more about how we are progressing as we move forward.


At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Flora Davis: A Woman's Best Friend is her Dog


Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post

Comments

I'm following this with interest. I'd like to start this--or, frankly, better yet--see somebody else start this--in my neck of the woods.

Great job of describing our concept Ronni. Thanks so much for your clarity and dedication to this concept.

Ken Pyburn

I was in the convent at Marylhurst, Ronni, in Lake Oswego, from 1964-67. Used to go for walks along the river and through neighborhoods there and attended classes at Marylhurst College, with strict instructions not to talk to the "seculars!"

The biggest excitement was when a famous ancient Oregon Senator married one of the Marylhurst students that some of us knew in class!

The Village concept sounds like the best answer yet for people who don't want, or can't afford, fancy assisted living places. It will be interesting to follow your updates. I don't think there is a chapter in Tucson as yet and I am too old to start one.

This is very interesting, Ronni. Thank you. I see I have one up here in my neck of the woods but since my family is in Portland, I may want to look into that area to be close to them.

Thank you! I am IN your village. And I would like to help. Please email me so I can join and contribute ... time and energy for sure, money of course!

Thanks for the update, Ronni. I wish "Villages NW" included the Greater Seattle area where I live. I know that there are several villages in this area in various stages of "completion," but I think that I live outside their boundaries. But this is something I've been putting off taking action around. So, again, thanks for the reminder.

In keeping with the idea of remaining in our own homes, I was impress with a movie I recently saw at the Seattle International Film Festival -- "Alive Inside: Music & Memory." Absolutely terrific and very pertinent to remaining at home as long as possible. I understand it is being released for distribution, so watch for it. You can also find clips on YouTube. Thanks so much for your service, Ronni

Good concept, but too expensive for me. And no village in my area. Maybe in my next life...

Catherine, I live in the Greater Seattle area also, and I wasn't aware that there were any villages here, so thanks for the info.

Although my husband and I may not be a great fit with the village concept, we are concerned about living as independently as possible in our own home for our remaining years. We moved to a 55+ development last year (single level home, more reliable power, easy access in the winter) but residents are on their own as far as services are concerned.

At ages 84 and 77, respectively, we're pretty healthy and haven't needed a lot of help so far, but we know that may change. Even though we have some LTC insurance, as retirees from nonprofit organizations, we definitely won't be able to afford pricey assisted living or "continuing care" communities. (Apparently, there are lots of people who will because more are under construction.) Anyway, the big question for us will be how and where to obtain assistance if/when we can no longer manage on our own. If available, a village might be part of the answer. . .

Ronni: I, too, appreciate your hard work and willingness to share the results.

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